Career Path Options for a Multimedia Artist and Animator

The average value of the Bachelor degree needed to become a Multi-media artists and animators is $872,389.00.

Points of Interest

The number of multimedia artist and animator jobs will grow to keep up with increased consume demand for 3D graphics and realistic effects for video games, films and animation. – Salaries for multimedia artists and animators vary dramatically, depending on company and industry, with most earning between $41,710 and $77,010. – Artistic ability and creativity are crucial parts of the job. – There are many types of jobs available in the multimedia and animation fields, but video game design is especially growing in popularity.

Nature of the Work

Multimedia artists and animators are employed primarily in motion picture and video industries, advertising and computer services. They create pictures by hand and by using special computer software. These pictures form the animation or special effects seen in film, television and computer games. Some create storyboards for commercials, movies and cartoons. Storyboards show the scenes of television commercials, like a comic strip, and allow advertising agencies to evaluate commercials.

Storyboards also act as guides and have information as to where to place actors and cameras on the set and other details. Many multimedia artists use 3D imaging to model objects by computer and work with others to create movement for the objects. Multimedia artists and animators use cameras and lighting to create special effects. They generate ideas and make them come to life using art and special animation techniques. They may edit film and text and establish story lines and sequence and pace of the scenes.

multimedia artists

They identify colors needed and create them using paint and chemicals. They operate a variety of equipment, including cameras, scanners and special effects. They also review film and video in post-production stages. Those in management positions may develop production schedules and budgets. Multimedia artists and animators who work in the advertising field use their skills to create complex graphics and animation. They produce multimedia presentations, webpages, brochures, promotional products and graphics and illustrations for technical publications.

They also must have a basic understanding of communication methods and media production and the use of media and graphics for use in advertising strategies. Multimedia artists and animators must be knowledgeable of many types of software. They use computer-aided design (CAD), development, graphics design, photo imaging, video creation and web software. Commonly-used programs include Autodesk, Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe Fireworks, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Studio, HTML, Cascading Style Sheets and Adobe Shockwave Player.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

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Multimedia and animation are industries where education and experience are crucial, since jobs are competitive. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited program can provide many entry-level opportunities for graduates. Animation programs are not available at most state universities. Instead, students may have to look to animation, design, art or technical schools to obtain the education in animation and multimedia that they desire.

It is important to research schools, since there are many concentration and types of design within these fields. Some schools offer animation degrees online, so this may be an option for those who do not want to relocate or for those who are juggling work and family obligations and need flexibility in their class schedule. Bachelor’s degree programs offer students comprehensive study in the world of animation. Students learn 2D and 3D animation, storyboarding, character development, game design, special effects, drawing, modeling and post-production techniques. Students learn critical thinking and communication skills so they have experience solving design problems and working and collaborating as part of a team.

They also learn project management, where they stick with a project from the planning stages through implementation. Students take classes in animation, movement, storyboards, physics, studio techniques, modeling, digital imaging, design principles, texture and lighting. They develop drawing techniques and learn the software used by professionals in the industry.

They also learn to analyze production techniques and visual elements found in films. Upon graduation of an animation and multimedia program, students have a portfolio of work that they can show prospective employers. Besides education, those interested in careers as multimedia artists and animators must be able to think critically and work as part of a team. Creativity and artistic ability are a must. A large part of the job involves developing new ideas for animation and generating new characters, so animators must always be thinking of innovative types of animation. Advancement is an option for those who demonstrate exceptionally high levels of creativity and eagerness to learn innovative ways to create animation.

For those who are familiar with the processes, careers are available in game simulation, project management and coordination, software development and programming.


Multimedia artists and animators are the second most common jobs in the creative field, with art director at the top of the list. Most work in the motion picture and video industries. Some also work in specialized design services and computer and video game design.

Job Outlook

Employment for multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow at an average rate. There will be tough competition for jobs because there are many talented and artistic people looking to work in these occupations and the number of jobs available cannot keep up with the demand. However, there are employers that constantly seek up-and-coming and fresh talent. Plus, of all the occupations in the art and creative fields, opportunities are expected to increase the most for multimedia artists and animators, despite the competition. Multimedia artist and animator jobs will increase to keep up with consumer demand for realistic video games, special effects and 3D animated movies. With mobile technology growing in popularity, multimedia and animation experts will be needed to create computer graphics. Demand for animators is also increasing in less technological areas such as design and scientific research.


Job opportunities in creative fields are expected to increase, with multimedia artists and animators no exception. The number of jobs in these fields is expected to rise by 14 percent by 2018, from 79,000 to 90,200.


Salaries for multimedia artists and animators can vary dramatically, from $31,570 to $100,390. The average annual salary is $56,330, with most earning between $41,710 and $77,010. Salary varies with industry, with those in the motion picture and video industries averaging $65,600. Those in advertising earn an average of $52,530 annually.


Most multimedia artists and animators work in the motion picture and video industries and in the advertising and public relations fields.

These industries employ nearly 11,500 multimedia artists and animators. However, the highest wages are paid to those who work for trade and technical schools, such as instructors, and those in the motion picture and video industries, at $72,830 and $70,960, respectively. California employs the most multimedia artists and animators (9,440) and also offers the highest wages, at $76,010 on average. Maryland has the second-highest wages, at an annual average of $66,850. In terms of metropolitan areas, San Francisco, California, has the highest concentration of multimedia artists and animators, and the second-highest wages, at an average of $81,320 annually.

Related Occupations

  • Art director
  • Artist
  • Cartoonist
  • Graphic designer
  • Video game designer
  • Web designer
  • Motion graphics technician

Sources of Additional Information

  • A listing of top-rated schools with animation degree programs can be found at Animation Arena.
  • Detailed information about the duties and required knowledge for multimedia artists and animators can be found at AciNet.Org
  • Detailed information about wages and salaries can be found at

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